Sunday, 31 May 2009

Gilbert's Lemurs

The photos and information in this blog are taken from Nancy McIntosh's article "Sir William Gilbert's Lemurs" published in Strand magazine in November 1909 (Vol 38, pages 604-609). I'm grateful to Sam Silvers for drawing my attention to this article.

W.S. Gilbert owned a number of lemurs while he was living at Grim's Dyke, his house at Harrow Weald to the north of London. The first of these was called Job (Job was Gilbert's favourite book of the Bible).

Nancy McIntosh notes that Job was "bought by chance with a number of monkeys, and put at first to live with them in the summer monkey-house." Then he was brought into the house but kept on a chain. After a while he became a much-loved part of the household and had his own chair with a cushion. He died one autumn, apparently from loneliness, while the Gilberts were abroad on holiday.

Gilbert then bought two Madagascar lemurs, called Adam and Eve. They gave birth to a child, called Paul because when he sat in Job's chair he looked like Paul Dombey.

Above: "Three Portraits of Paul in Characteristic Attitudes."

Below: the other photos which accompanied the article. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent scans! Thanks for sharing them.

    The third seated-lemur photograph is distinctly cute.

    When a site is erected for W. S. Gilbert's lemurs, then you know there must be a site for everything! I mean that in the complementary sense, of course...